Tag:John Farrell
Posted on: April 7, 2011 2:32 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:23 pm

Escobar won't be put on DL

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Yunel Escobar was diagnosed with a "very mild" concussion and will not go on the new seven-day disabled list.

"We don't think he'll be out that long," Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulus said according to John Lott of the National Post.

Yunel EscobarEsobar is feeling better and has been cleared to travel with the team on their upcoming 11-day road trip through Anaheim, Seattle and Boston.

"CT scans last night of the head and neck all were negative," Jays manager John Farrell said. "I actually spoke to him this morning. He felt good this morning."

Escobar hit the knee of Oakland's Andy LaRoche when he slid head-first into third on a triple in the fifth inning of last night's game. He stayed in the game after being examined by the team's trainer, but was then pulled when he was seen shaking his head and acting erratically in the top of the sixth.

Escobar did not stay in a hospital last night, as had been reported, but was back at his hotel, with a trainer who stayed with him and checked on him every two hours.

Escobar underwent the league-mandated neurological testing this morning.

"That's a new rule and we're working through it with Major League Baseball," Anthopoulos told the Toronto Star. "This is the first case, they even told us this is the first case they've had. So under further clarification, he's not forced to take the DL, he just had to pass tests mandated by Major League Baseball."

He has not passed those tests yet. The Blue Jays will have to send their reports to an MLB-certificed doctor for clearance before that can happen. Anthopoulos said he expects that to come next week.

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Posted on: April 7, 2011 10:15 am
Edited on: April 7, 2011 10:17 am

Pepper: Concussion concern

Yunel Escobar
By C. Trent Rosecrans

Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar may be the test case for Major League Baseball's new concussion guidelines after leaving Wednesday night's game against the A's following a collision with Oakland third baseman Adam LaRoche.

Escobar stayed in the game after he ran into LaRoche's knee on a head-first slide into third following a fifth-inning triple. After fielding his position in the sixth, Escobar was taken out of the game because of dizziness. He was taken to a hospital for testing and stayed overnight.

Escobar convinced manager John Farrell to keep him in the game after the incident and even wanted to stay after his half-inning in the field. Still, he was at shortstop jumping up and down and shaking his head.

Farrell said the team was waiting to see how he reacted and didn't like what they saw. Diagnosing a concussion is difficult, especially when an athlete is conditioned to play through pain, so managers need to be more proactive when a head injury occurs. Farrell acted and luckily it wasn't too late.

It won't be a surprise if Escobar is the first player to wind up on the seven-day DL for concussions. MLB has stepped up to the plate in giving teams ways to properly treat concussions, now it's time for the teams to follow through and use them. [Globe and Mail]

IS TODAY THE DAY? -- Can the Red Sox actually win a game? CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to discuss it.

FIRST PITCH WORTH SEEING -- The White Sox's home opener today and throwing out the first pitch will be Minnie Minoso. Minoso is anywhere from 85-91 and one of the great ambassadors of baseball. We used Baseball-Reference.com's player oracle linking franchise legends to current players and I swear a good third of them that I did included Minoso, who played his first big-league game in 1949 and his last in 1980 (although, he did manage just five games after 1964, appearing in three games in 1976 and two in 1980 in a  publicity stunt). [Chicago Tribune]

LA RUSSA UPSET -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has found an easy scapegoat for his team's 2-4 start, the media. You'll never lose in a public opinion poll when you place yourself against the fourth estate. Baseball's king of deflection is at it early this season. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

GOOD SOLDIER -- Mariners second baseman Jack Wilson said he was in agreement with manager Eric Wedge's decision to pull him after two errors on Wednesday. The question is, with his contract up at the end of the season, could Wilson be traded away before the season ends to a team that needs a shortstop (St. Louis, Milwaukee, Houston?), especially with Dustin Ackley waiting to take over at second base. [Seattle Times]

BOO AWAY -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel understands why fans booed Cole Hamels on Tuesday -- it is Philly after all. [Philly.com]

CAREER NUMBERS -- Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman have been in the National League Central long enough to have played nearly a season's worth of games against each team. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold breaks down Pujols' and Berkman's 'seasons' against NL Central opponents. The conclusion? Those two are pretty good -- and the Reds don't want to see either. Pujols' best numbers -- .372/.456/.695 with 45 HR and 134 RBI in 157 games -- are against the Pirates, and the Reds are in second place (159 games, 43 HR, 133 RBI, .356/.440/.656). Berkman's best are against the Reds, hitting 49 HR, 137 RBI and .318/.438/.678 in 152 games against Cincinnati.

SMALL BALL -- For just the second time in the nine-year history of Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, there were two straight games without a homer on Tuesday and Wednesday. The only other time that happened was Aug. 6-7, 2005 against the Marlins. That hasn't hurt the Reds, who scored 20 runs in those two games. The Reds have scored 43 runs through the first five games, the second-best mark in their history. In 1976, Cincinnati had 44 runs through five games. That team, of course, repeated as World Series champions. The team is also 5-0 for the fifth time in history -- twice winning the World Series after such a start (1919, 1990).

JUDGE ME NOT BY MY SIZE -- The Royals' Tim Collins and the Braves' Craig Kimbrel are proving you don't need to be tall to throw hard. [MLB.com]

RATINGS UP -- The Nationals' TV ratings for their opening series against the Braves were up nearly 100 percent. [D.C. Sports Bog]

CABRERA HITS 250 -- Miguel Cabrera hit his 250th career home run on Wednesday and Tiger manager Jim Leyland said he was sure his slugger would have "250 more." It seems likely if Cabrera stays on the field. [MLive.com]

SIPP STEPS UP -- Tony Sipp has emerged as the Indians' setup man. [Akron Beacon Journal]

OPENING DAY -- Today's opening day for the minor leagues. The game to watch is in Rome, Ga., where Bryce Harper will make his professional debut for the Class A Hagerstown Suns. [Rome News-Tribune]

HALL OF FAME PIG -- Ryne Sandberg, the new manager of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs is comfortable in his new job with the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate. [Allentown Morning-Call]

RALLY CAP -- The Altoona Curve is the first professional team to feature a reversible cap with a design in the lining to make a rally cap. The inside features a lining depicting the team's "rally mascot" Al Tuna. It's a pair of googly eyes, representing the head of the fish mascot. [MiLB.com]

MAKE IT A DOUBLE -- The Red Sox are getting closer to being able to selling mixed drinks at Fenway Park after reaching an agreement with Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and other interest groups. This comes just in time, as the Red Sox are winless. [Boston Globe]

TEIXEIRA LAUNCHES DREAM TEAM -- Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira donated $1 million to the Harlem RBI program. [MLB..com]

SHEPARD DIES -- Larry Shepard, the former Pirates manager and pitching coach for the Big Red Machine, died on Tuesday. He was 92. Shepard managed the Pirates in 1968 and 1969 and was the Reds' pitching coach from 1970-78. He also served as the pitching coach for the Phillies and Giants. [Associated Press]

RETURN TO MONTREAL -- The Blue Jays are considering playing exhibition games in Montreal and other Canadian cities. [MLB.com]

A REAL CLASSIC -- "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" will be preserved at the Library of Congress along with 24 other recordings chosen for their cultural significance. [Associated Press]

10 YEARS OF PNC -- One of the best ballparks in Major League Baseball turns 10 this year, as the Pirates start their home opener on a roll, winner of their first two series. Even 10 years old, the $270 million stadium is still one of the best in baseball, even if its tenants haven't been. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

MLB.COM Q&A -- The boss over at MLB.com talks about technology and baseball [All Things Digital]

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Posted on: March 23, 2011 12:09 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:23 pm

Jays notebook: Club intends to run more

DrabekBy Evan Brunell

GM Alex Anthopoulous and manager John Farrell took to the airwaves Wednesday morning to talk about all things Blue Jays. And there were plenty of topics covered.

Farrell, for his part, skirted around the issue of what the Blue Jays did in the past, always a difficult thing to do when you disagree with the philosophy but don't want to burn bridges.

"Planning against [the Blue Jays while with the Red Sox] felt like it was more of a one-dimensional approach," Farrell said according to Drunk Jays Fans (warning: some language). "Now, I'm not saying that's a wrong approach, but I just know that, going up against other teams, it was much more difficult to approach or plan for a team when they had the ability to attack you with different methods. To be more opportunistic is probably I'd best describe it.

"Again, I don't think it's a matter of saying what was done in the past was wrong," he added. "I just feel like -- put it this way, it would be, I think, more of a complete type of game, or a complete style of game, rather than just that one dimension."

It's in this vein that Farrell plans to let players loose on the basepaths more than previous seasons, as that's the quickest fix toward improving the team. Farrell would also undoubtedly like to diversify the offense at the plate beyond being home-run happy, but that will come in due time.

Anthopoulous then came on the airwaves to touch on multiple topics, two of the most compelling being the rotation and service-time manipulation.

The rotation is expected to have Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow at the top, and AA isn't expecting issues from them. However, the pitchers set to round out the rotation -- or those still in contention for a spot -- do have specific aspects the GM needs to see improve.

With Jo-Jo Reyes, in the hunt for the last spot although he's likely to be moved to the bullpen, the lefty needs to stay down in the zone and deploy his secondary stuff effectively. Sounds obvious for pretty much any pitcher to succeed, but it's this aspect that tends to derail a lot of careers. It's not easy to do.

Kyle Drabek (pictured), who is expected to win a rotation spot, needs to be calm on the mound and (surprise), be down in the zone along with featuring his changeup. Meanwhile, Jesse Litsch needs to be able to throw strikes, which can be problematic coming back from Tommy John Surgery

Lastly, while Brett Lawrie has virtually no chance of making the club thanks to Juan Rivera blocking him, "there's a reason he's still here," Anthopoulous said. "He's probably better than we had hoped for at this stage."

That turned to a discussion on service-time manipulation, which is always a factor with rookies and came into play last year with Buster Posey. He believes service time can be folded into the club's goal of doing certain things better than the competition, similar to Tampa Bay's chase for the extra two percent. That includes how players are treated along with what travel, the clubhouse and other factors are like, and service-time manipulation falls into that category, as players know when they aren't being "treated the right way."

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Posted on: March 15, 2011 9:06 pm

Injuries muddle Jays' closer race

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Blue Jays went into camp with no shortage of closers with experience, but no real favorite.

Jon RauchTwo weeks into exhibition games, that apparently hasn't changed much.

"It's premature to say who's in that slot," manager John Farrell said (via MLB.com). "The main thing is guys that are taking the ball and getting on the mound are certainly putting themselves in a position to establish roles. So right now, we're not here to say who has that spot locked down."

That points toward Jon Rauch, left, because of injuries to Octavio Dotel and Frank Francisco, both scratched from their next scheduled outings because of injuries. Francisco, scheduled to pitch today against the Phillies, was out with a right pectoral injury and Dotel, expected to throw Wednesday and Saturday, has a sore left hamstring.

Rauch, signed two a one-year deal with a team option for 2012 in the offseason, had 21 saves for the Twins last season. Farrell also praised his recent performance, including a scoreless inning against the Phillies on Tuesday.

All three were acquired in the offsesason -- two signings and a trade -- after the team lost Kevin Gregg and Scott Downs to free agency.

Francisco is still expected to be ready for opening day, Farrell said.

"We feel like if we can get him three or four games [more] before we leave camp, he'll be fine," Farrell said. "He's not overtly concerned or overly alarmed. He feels this is a spring training aches and pains type thing that he's going through. The red flag is not up per se with Frankie."

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More MLB coverage
Posted on: February 22, 2011 6:33 pm

Blue Jays excited for season

CBSSports.com visited Blue Jays camp Tuesday and came away with plenty to talk about. 

First-year manager John Farrell speaks about his plans for the upcoming season:

Rajai Davis will bring speed to Toronto, which is in short supply. How will that affect the Jays' game?

Jose Bautista dishes on his new contract and the team.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: February 18, 2011 1:53 pm

Francisco early leader to close for Jays

Frank Francisco It looks as if new Blue Jay Frank Francisco is the early favorite for the closers job, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm writes.

Francisco is competing with Jon Rauch and Octavio Dotel -- also newcomers to Toronto -- for the closer's spot.

"When you look at the guys in that mix, the fact that he attacks lefties with that success rate kind of gives him the edge coming in -- at least on paper," Jays manager John Farrell said.

All three have closing experience. Francisco, 31, had 25 saves in 2009 before Neftali Feliz came along. He also had two saves last year. Left-handers have hit just .214/.318/.315 against Francisco in his career, but his strikeout-to-walk ratio is better against right-handers (3.16) than left-handers (1.93).

Dotel, 37, is joining his 12th team of his career. He has 105 career saves, including 22 last season (21 for the Pirates and one for the Dodgers). He had 36 for the Astros and A's in 2004.

Francisco and Dotel each have career ERAs of 3.75, while the third member competing for that spot, Jon Rauch, has a 3.71 career ERA.

Rauch, 32, had 21 saves for the Twins last season and 47 in his career.

Rauch and Dotel signed as free agents with the Blue Jays, while Francisco came from Texas in exchange for Mike Napoli.

"I played there for six years and I didn't feel comfortable anymore," Francisco said. "They had a great, great staff and a great group of guys, but I wanted to see a change and see myself establish in the bilge leagues, like a closer -- not a setup man -- but a real closer. That's my dream."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 8, 2010 3:59 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2010 4:28 pm

Blue Jays fill out coaching staff

Don Wakamatsu
Don Wakamatsu has accepted another gig, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's out of the running to manage the Mets.

The Blue Jays announced that the former Mariners manager will be John Farrell's bench coach. He has been identified as a candidate with the Mets, and also reportedly had an offer to be Buck Showalter's bench coach in Baltimore.

Speculation is that the Jays, who have a policy of not blocking employees from seeking better jobs with other teams, probably gave Wakamatsu an opt-out provision should be offered the Mets job. It is believed that Wakamatsu has not yet interviewed with New York.

The Blue Jays also announced three other coaching appointments. Former Jays great Pat Hentgen will be bullpen coach, his first professional coaching job. Torey Lovullo, who was Triple-A manager for the Red Sox, Farrell's previous employer, will be first-base coach. Dwayne Murphy was retained as hitting coach, and will be entering his second season in that role.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: November 7, 2010 7:56 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2010 7:57 pm

Mets to interview Hale

CSNNE.com reports that Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale is among the candidates who will be interviewed for the Mets' managerial opening.

Hale interviewed for the same job in Toronto, finishing second, according to some reports, to fellow Red Sox coach John Farrell. Hale has extensive managerial experience in the minor leagues but has not managed in the majors.

Terry Collins is reported to be a strong candidate for the Mets job, and Don Wakamatsu also appears to be a candidate.

-- David Andriesen

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com